I go to bed in a hospital room. From the window I can see our apartment. This is closer to home than any of our other hospital stays, and less stressful. We age, we injure, we heal. Or we go through the traumas of childbirth, and heal. The pain is not always evenly distributed. It is shared though, which is both comforting and real. I look across the sports fields beside the Hong Kong Central library at Tai Hang, at our tiny box, the lights that mean home, that mean people, and relax.
I’ll be out of here in another twelve hours. I’ll probably still have a job. Things aren’t always as bad as they have been, and there’s a lot of hope in our corner of the world. A lot of growth, new words, new abilities. Hopefully some of the old abilities, too, returning after rehab and intention, after focus and time.
We get older, and we keep going to the gym. Our fitness plans remain much the same, climbing frisbee yoga and the occasional jog, on either side of these milestones. On either side of these years. My shoulder, the cause of that stay in twenty twenty, is pretty functional. I boulder on it, lay out on it, swing on it, and carry a small child with it. The rehab took a long time, but I had little to do. Tomorrow’s rehab will be lighter, more like the last op than the shoulder. More like stiches rather than reconstruction. I’m happy with that, happy with the ability to fix things before they’re impossible.
“You woke up smelling horrible every day. Like pain,” my partner says of the three months pre-shoulder surgery. “After surgery you immediately smelled like yourself again.”
Smelling like myself instead of like pain seems like a big step. The gift of a mediocre memory, of being unable to hold my body’s prior feelings very well, is that I do not remember. I hope never to remember. I hope to read these words in a few years and be startled by them.
“Do you re-read your own writing,” a friend asked me in December.
All the time, I said. All the time. It’s a way of remembering, of anchoring myself. Most of these posts are written for me, to help me tell the story of my life, across time, to myself.
Because otherwise I’d forget. Otherwise I might never remember all the things I’ve done. I might not remember who I am, or who I’m trying to be. I definitely wouldn’t remember how it felt, ten or fifteen years back, to discover things I now struggle to notice. I might not remember all those nights listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack in Chinese hotel rooms, happy and healthy or sick and uncertain. I wouldn’t remember all my odd interactions with friends, or what it felt like to drive the PCH before finding a job in San Francisco.
Sometimes, when it’s hard to remember, it’s good to be able to remember, to have triggers. To create them. I do it with music a lot, and with people. Mostly, though, I do it with this site, with writing, and with time.
It’s another kind of healing, perfect for this quiet hospital room.